All of which should not give you the wrong idea. I remember a small dinner party which M. Robert Bellet, the commissaire principal, as the purser is called, gave me on the occasion of my birthday anniversary.
Le Melon Honeydew Frappé
Les Filets de Sole Dugléré
La Noisette d'Agnelet Châtelaine
Les Pointes d'Asperges à l'Argenteuil
Le Medaillon de Foie Gras Truffé
La Salade Caprice
Les Framboises Givrées Melba
La Corbeille de Fruits
The sole, prepared after the recipe of Jean Pierre Duglere with white wine, mushrooms, and tomatoes, was real sole, not the imitation that one gets so often on the western shores of the Atlantic, and it fairly melted in the mouth. The lamb was done with chestnuts. We had a Chassagne-Montrachet 1937, a Marquis de Terne 1924, and vintage champagne. (There were a few choice vintages in the cellars, a fine Chateau Latour 1924, and an excellent Chateau Yquem of the same great year.)
It was a memorable birthday lunch. As we left the dining room and went up on deck, a big ocean liner was passing by. I saw the name on the hull, “Mauretania.” I had made a crossing aboard her, back in 1942, paid for by the United States Army, in the company of some 8,000 Gl's. The food, if you insist on calling it that, had been somewhat different then. It was prepared by British Navy cooks—or, rather, by obnoxious gremlins disguised as British Navy cooks. There were no menus on the tables. In fact, there were no tables. It was the only ocean trip in my life when I was always hungry.